STOP Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in the world byJSTOR. Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.istor.org/participate-istor/individuals/early- journal-content . JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A Journey on HorsebacJc in 1799. 189 A JOUENBY OIT HOESEBACK FEOM NEW BEUNS- WICK, NEW JEESEY, TO LYCOMING COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, IN 1799. CONTRIBUTED BY HON. THOMAS HILL, PORTLAND, MAINE. [Abijah Hill, of Warwickshire, England, b. May 1, 1690, d. Jan. 26, 1783, had one daughter and five sons, of whom the youngest, Samuel, was b. Aug. 3, 1741, d. Jan. 1804. He had four sons, of whom the oldest, Thomas, came to America prior to reaching his majority and settled in New Brunswick, N. J. Here he died April 8, 1828. He was a man of great stature and muscular strength, of sound sense, and in- corruptible integrity, and for many years filled honorably the offices of Justice of the Peace, and Judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in Middlesex County, N. J. The following extracts from his diary of a horseback journey from New Brunswick, N. J., to Lycoming County, Penna., are of interest, as they contain a certain amount of historic in- terest concerning the roads, manners, and customs of the inhabitants, crops, etc., at the close of the last century.] New Brunswick N. J. June 29, 1799. — Cash thirty dollars, three silk neck hdkfs, three pocket hdkfs, two pair stock- ings, three nankeen waistcoats, two coatees, three pair of trousers, a great coat, one pair of shoes, one hat of chip, a watch, a pair of saddle bags, a brace of razors, a knife with three blades ; and a good horse, a bright bay, with a poor bridle and a good saddle, on which is mounted your humb serv't T. HILL. P.S. — Tobacco in segars, 100 ; also a box full of opium, rhubarb, aloes, and magnesia. July 1. — [from New Brunswick] to Reading town meet- ing, 20 miles; to Exton's, 14 miles more, to lodge. A pleasant country, piaritan] river brimfull, grass good, chiefly mowed ; crops on the west side, 20 bushels, on the east side 12 bushels. But the pleasant prospects will not cure my blisters which are as big as a dove's Qgg. Oh dear ! 190 A Journey on Horseback in 1799. the hot weather, and rough fustian trousers, and a hard trotting horse incline me to pray ! July 2. — Put on linen trousers. To the Hickory tavern, 7 miles, along the ridge of a mountain ; — hard pebbly road, few settlements, and poor land. The linen trousers do bet- ter than cotton. To Phillipsburg and East Town [Easton], 12 miles, through several small villages, on fine rapid trout streams, with mills. Limestone land, very indifferent; lime not used as a manure ; average of produce 12 bushels, scarcely. Ked clover and pretty good lots, wherever there are mills. On such lots, 25 bushels ; hay, 1 J tons ; apple trees look well. Abutment and piers for a bridge from Phillipsburgh ; two piers only ; span 180 ft. The Lehigh falls in, just below; high banks, stony lands ; river not rapid enough to be romantic, nor wide and full enough to be ma- jestic ; much disappointed. Pretty good houses of lime- stone. Stone lime delivered at one shilling per bushel. A many stores. Inhabitants chiefly German. 130 houses or more. Four or five tanners. Bark stones drove by water. A few miles off, one on the coffee mill principle, answers well. Seven years ago I could find no clover sown, except near cities ; now, wherever you find a mill, or a store, you see lots [fields] of clover; a plain proof of superior infor- mation in any class of men over farmers. A most beautiful romantic clump of houses, on a brook, west side of the town, with a delightful tumbling dam. When I turn hermit, here will I live. To Stierk's tavern 18 mile, yellow loam with limestone bottom, chiefly, till last two or four miles, slates very good. Two houses covered with them by Stierk's father. He's an intelligent German, a rare thing. Very unlike the Yankees, in general they can give me no information at all. The Yankees on the con- trary, in York State, used to tell me not only their own business, but every one of their neighbor's ! July 3. — To Harry Hoes 9 miles, to breakfast, generally over a poorish land, a yellow shelly loam; the bottom chiefly a whitish, spar-looking stone, something like plaster in appearance, but very hard. All Germans; — the most A Journey on Horseback in 1799. 191 early rising, hard working people I ever saw ; they seem to enjoy not more happiness or knowledge, than some bell- flowers, who sleep at night, wake early, to bed late, perpet- uate their species, and die. They cannot tell you the dis- tance, or route to the next village. How different from the new Englishmen who, of all others, abound in local infor- mation in a superior degree. The women, all at work in the fields, seem very active, but are masculine in the ex- treme; their countenances seem to express much jealous suspicion. Their dress, — one petticoat striped blue linsy, a man's hat, and a shift, some of them with wristbands. Twelve miles from Harry Hoes to Livy's, arrive at | past 10 o'clock. The mountain is very steep ; about a mile and a J up and a mile down again ; but in appearance, or height, from the foot, it falls far short of the Catskill Mountains. The stones seem a very hard kind indeed, a little gritty, with Motherstones and the white stones above mentioned, which I suppose Granite, mixed in small quantity ; about a mile of this side, say west, a perfect Red Shell. Crops, the 21 miles I have come, not more than 10 or 12 bushels. I have not yet seen any equal to the Raritan [val- ley]; and no trees deserving the name of timber; small chestnuts and oaks all the way from Exton's. I have much trouble with my horse, he stumbles so much, I dare not ride him down hill, and up hill I walk to save him. This country has been settled with Germans about fifty years, I hope to be soon through them. My breakfast was this morning two cups of coffee without sugar, and 3 eggs ; bread baked hard, and crust wet. What a pity I cannot draw, if I could I would describe a beautiful wild deep red flower, on a stem 18 inches long, flower IJ inches long, bell-shape. [Lilium Philadelphium] A new and curious species of Laurel [Rhododendron or Kalmia] a long leaf like Magnolia, 15 ft high ; the flowers from their having a kind of natural bird lime upon the out- side of them, are hung up, Livy tells me, for fly traps; — I suppose on Sundays only, from the dirt. In the brook plenty of trout. A lizard makes a noise like the constant Vol. XIV. — 13 192 A Journey on Horseback in 1799. rapping of a small stick upon a board. Leiby (for so he spells Ms name) says tie often sees them. I doubt. Salad with milk, oil, vinegar, bonny clabber and bread; good God ! how can they work so hard on such food ! A fine lesson ; I was determined to eat as they did, but was forced to take a piece of dried venison. They have a fine black eyed girl, 2J years old, but I suppose by ten, she will lose all her beauty and look like one of Shakespears witches. I notice their shifts being made exactly like shirts, except the collar, — they button with one button at the top. Can it be possible ! Am I in America ! where wages are six or seven shillings per day ! Ifo wonder they acquire wealth. No schools, no itch for learning. "Were they dressed alike, I defy any man to tell boys and girls of 10 or 12 apart. When grown up their forms differ, but their masculine features nearly the same. What will not education do ! To see and observe these people is worth riding a hard trot- ting horse 90 or 100 miles. I am 12 miles from that part of the Lehigh which produces such excellent coal ; — 6d per bushel to Philadelphia, by water.' My present landlord has a considerable store, a small farm, &c., — wages J a dollar per day. Set off, at 3J o'clock for Snyder's; went over a long high mountain called Somer's Ridge, at the foot of which you cross the Little Schuylkill. The Somer's Ridge is a miserable road, a sharp sand, upon a sandstone, too hard to be called free. The next mountain, called the Second Blue Mountain is still worse ; I wonder how it is possible to get loaded wagons over such miserable rough stony roads. I then crossed the Tuscarora Mountain, which contained a many rocks of that kind of motherstone used in mills. The timber that covers these lands, if so it be called, consists of short, knotty pitch pine, chestnut and chestnut oak. At the bottom of this ^ I remember that about 25 years later than this, my father procured a lump of Lehigh coal about as large as his two fists, and tried it on his wood fire in an open Franklin stove. After two days he concluded that if the world should take fire the Lehigh coal mines would be the safest retreat, the last place to burn. A Journey on Horseback in 1799. 193 mountain I come to a house, kept by Snyder as a tavern. I had been told of a fine barn, and meadows, though a mid- dling house; five miles from the Schuylkill. How disap- pointed was I in finding a large family in a small old log house as black as a smoke house and more dirty than a hogpen. I entered, look at a thousand holes thro' the roof, see that they have the itch badly, drink a small glass of whiskey, pay them 6d instead of 3d, and set off for Trushes, 3 miles, and there find a stable without hay or straw. A poor house and dirty bedfellow, — f dollar. 15 miles from Leibys. A foolish democrat with strange notions, all for want of candid information. July 4. 15 miles to Fred. Lavinburgh's to breakfast, over mountains composed of nearly the same materials; more motherstone, at 11 miles come down the first road worth observing over these mountains, N". E. side. You observe the trees in the under valley as plain as plums in a pudding under your nose. Over the valley and next hill plains of f mile broad, of very good pine and oak, fit for spars of any kind ; and the land has not many stones ; and would no doubt be worth clearing. A brook runs through east and west, but the dumb fools know not where it empties. However, good eggs and bacon, bad coffee and a good stomach, make up for wanted information, in some respects. To Roaring Creek 9 miles. First over a mountain called the Little Mountain, over which is the best road of any mountain I had yet crossed ; it took me one hour, exact, to cross it; after that pretty good roads to this place. I have through the want of information gone five miles out of the way. However, my landlord says the better road will make up for it. He is well informed, descended from Irish parents; not party spirited; has 3 seeming industrious 'girls; chatty; use thee and thou ; majestic sounds after the yaw, yaw ! Though ordinary persons, they are vastly su- perior to the Germans in expressive phizes. Can this be all education, or not? They live pretty well, ham, eggs, let- tuce, plain; much better than the German warm salads. Have come over some red shell land ; very poor ; will never 194 A Journey on Horseback in 1799. be settled until the vine is cultivated. Six qts oats, pint cider royal, dinner, half a dollar, at Penrose's tavern on Roaring Creek, which I cross and then — Started at 2 o'clock, and although I kept on a steady jog trot, I did not reach Sunbury until nine at night. Now 4 miles an hour would have been 28 miles although I was told it was but 20. I am sure, having but one hill to cross, and the rest a road not very stony, I could not have come a less distance, which with the 24 miles before dinner, makes the dis- tance travelled, too far ; it being 52 miles. An hour or two's ride, and I came to the Roaring Creek where it empties, into the Susquehannah. In riding over, nothing have I seen so naturally picturesque ; an almost natural-bridge, formed by the rocks, through which you see the falls of a milldam, with a bridge over to the mill. Had man planted a neat cot above in the bushes, it would make a fine picture for a painter to copy. I now travel along the, or rather under the banks of a very fine river, three times the breadth of Brunswick river, to Sunsbury. The slow majestic crystal moving stream, with monstrous mountains and banks on each side, and a level road on a flat not more than a hundred or two yards wide, covered in general by lofty sugar maples and beech, made me conclude at once that Matilda and J would be in raptures to have an opportunity of walking on these banks, calculated to please lovers, not farmers. Just as these thoughts were turning over, I saw the most beauti- ful serpent moving across the road. I stopt short to view this horrid fellow, for by the rattle of his tail I discovered him to be a rattlesnake. I have seen many a one in a box, but their colors were nothing, compared with this. I in- stantly dismounted and picked up a stick of four feet long. He prepared for an engagement by raising his sides, flatting his head, and shaking his tail. His colors now heightened surprisingly. By three or four strokes with a thick stick I killed him. "What a prize ! I out with my knife to cut his head and tail (of seven rattles) oiF, and thought of putting them into my pocket carefully packed. I would not at that moment [have] sold them for a dollar. I pressed on his A Journey on Horseback in 1799. 195 neck my stick and begun to separate his head from — when he opened a monstrous mouth and rolled his sides toward my legs. I was startled and in mad frenzy, at a few strokes laid on unmercifully, destroyed my prize entirely; for I had mashed his head and shattered his tail to shivers. Seven rattles, 4| feet, as thick as my wrist, fangs a large half inch, black and yellow. Sunbury is pleasantly situated on a fine flat, half a mile broad, on the east side of the river just below the junction of the two rivers. What a pity, several rapids and falls, below, should prevent its being as useful as 'tis pretty. Lay here all night, breakfasted next morning. Being the fourth of July, a fine frolic, all a little bousy. Divided into two parties, very violent. A curious dispute, in which Bob Grey charged Dr Watson and Jackson with instilling Dem- ocratic principles into a negro, because they otfered the negro money for behaving well. Wi July, to Northumberland about two miles above Sun- bury on the opposite shore, situated on nearly the point be- tween the two rivers. Put my horse up and went to see Priestley. He looks exceeding well, lives in a good house, with a garden leading to the E. Branch of the S. [Susque- hanna] River, with a fine island in the middle. Though I half promised to dine with Dr. P[riestly]., meeting with a man going to Millstown, for the sake of company ride with him, twelve miles up the W[est] Branch to Millstown. Flats pretty good, but not above half a mile wide. The rest part of the way over, or rather between mountains, on the Genesee road, to Murray creek. Mid- dling land by places; limestone sufficient all the way; and the best twenty eight miles of roads, I have ever seen to- gether in America. To Mr. Robb's to lodge; 30 miles from Northumberland and 16 from J. Hills, Qth July. Mrs Robb was so good as to go across the wil- derness with me to Mr Hills. After crossing the Alleghany mountains, the bottom lands became good, covered with im- mense white pines, sugar maple, and beech and birch. John Hills lands, one thousand acres, — six hundred bottom, 196 A Journey on Horseback in 1799. and four mountain. The bottoms up this creek are rather too sandy. A new county road is laid out, and will be a very good one, being pretty level, and free from stones in comparison ; and will, from its goodness and short distance, become the Genesee Road. In fact there is a kind of road [already] that a many people travel over for that country. Some days back a very high wind blew down a great many trees, which has made it very difficult travelling indeed. John Hill's situated on the south side of Loyalsock, 11 miles below the Forks. Flats above him surrounded in ap- pearance by mountains, half a mile high. My land on the north side, next Huckels. John Warren is settled at the forks, middle branch of the Loyalsock. Was I disposed to hunt I believe I could shoot a deer any day, but the dread of being bit by a rattlesnake prevents my attempting it. Not a day has passed without the dogs being after one, in full cry, near us. I wonder the dogs do not drive them all off. A man who was lost in the woods saw a great many elk the morning after he was lost. A heavy rain and wind was the cause of his losing his way. Between town and Elk creek is the only road that wants opening to complete an open road between Muncyand the Genesee; and this new route will be eighty miles nearer than the old route; which must enhance the value of the lands thro' this settlement. The greatest objection I can see against this settlement is, there never will be settlers sufficient to sup- port a schoolmaster under any reasonable proportion to each. For six miles from this spot, that is three each way, there cannot well be more than seven farmers, a miller, and blacksmith, say nine. A 10£ per year would do, — but it will be a little age before this number can be procured ; and even then this distance from market will make this propor- tion a high tax. Ministers they must always dispense with ; which is, in my opinion, no objection. Elk Creek branches off from the Loyalsock 2 miles above J. Hills and 29 from the Susquehannah. Went to see Jno. Warren. 150 acres, 25 acres of land clear. 10 in good meadow. Timothy — 2 ton ; 3 acre, corn — iO bushels ; good A Journey on Horseback in 1799, 197 wheat & rye, 7 acre ; 10 oxen, 4 cows and a bull, 50 bushels of old grain, two horses, plenty of meat and content in a comfortable log house. Pretty good flats, all the way up, but too narrow, and rather sandy. Killed a rattlesnake, black and white, Friday ; Saturday, another, black and white. I am told one color is the male and the other the female. The one I killed near Roaring Creek, from the beautiful yellow, white & black, must have been a male. Ha, ha, ha ! beautiful because a male ! I am in great pain from burnt legs by the sun while making a fish weir and dam. Sunday the — of July. — ^Left Loyalsock on my way home to Brunswick. To J. Websters 12 miles to tea. Part of the road lay over a branch of the Alleghany Mountain, four and a half miles across. Much credit is due to John Hill as the engineer in forming this road, for by taking proper advantages of the ridge he has rendered the road, not to say very steep in any one part, and yet managed it so that few zigzag windings appear to much lengthen the route. The whole distance from John Hills to Websters was cut and levelled for |1130 ; at a time that a J dollar a pound was given for pork and beef. And yet Priestly and other owners of lands refused giving J. H. more than one thousand dol- lars, because J. H. supposed before he began that that sum would be sufficient. Thus has J. H. not only given a years time in planning and overseeing the men, gratis, but has paid $130 cash out of his own pocket. Mr, "Webster is the most intelligent man for the advan- tages he has had, of almost any one I have ever met with. He, a brother and sister, when children, were surprised by a party of Indians. The brother was shot, his sister and he lived with the Indians some years ; he could not prevail on his sister to leave them ; and go without her he would not. He therefore laid a plan with some Indian traders to take the sister off; but such was the force of habit, that she as much disliked going back to the settlements, as she at first did to leave them ; and when her brother and his two com- rades were busy in crossing a lake she absolutely jumped 198 A Journey on Horsebaoh in 1799. out of the canoe, and made for the banks in hopes of get- ting back, but was prevented. She had nearly forgot the English language. This is no uncommon case. Few chil- dren, like them, taken young, and confined with them two or three years, without any chance of getting away, but will after that time become so attached to their new habits, as to not wish to leave them off and return to their own relations ; though they have nothing to prevent them from returning but their attachment to their present mode of living. And even people of maturer age often have been known to act like these children. It is strange what habit will do, and no one can say what it will not do. From Mr. "Websters four miles to squire Robb's, through a country not yet settled ; but the land being tolerably good, it is capable at some future day of maintaining a many in- habitants. Mrs. Eobb is a motherly old woman and was very tender over plastering my sunburnt legs with sour cream. I could not have supposed it possible for sunburns to be so bad. Monday July 15. — My legs are much better but I shall lose the outside skin of each calf. To Muncy — [here the diary suddenly ends].